Sat, May 06, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Debt collecting worries investors in China

CNA , TAIPEI

Some 55 percent of Taiwanese businesses surveyed have had difficulties collecting their debts in China, according to the results of a poll made public yesterday by the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei.

While more than half of the respondents said that they had direct experience of being unable to collect money owed to them from Chinese debtors, 78 percent of them said that it was private Chinese enterprises who were the main culprits.

As it was expensive for them to recover their debts through legal action, 41 percent of the respondents said that negotiations were the best way to resolve the problem, while 31 percent suggested continuous pressure would be the most effective way to make Chinese firms pay their debts, the poll results show.

According to the survey results, more than 80 percent of the China-based Taiwanese businesses polled had confidence in the credibility of foreign and Taiwanese companies, ahead of only 31 percent and 17 percent who thought Chinese state-run and private enterprises were credible, respectively.

As all kinds of fraud, scams and counterfeiting are rampant in China, foreign businessmen, including those from Taiwan, must pay a great deal of attention when doing business there, the association said.

Since China entered the WTO and opened its market to foreign-owned ventures, the issue of how to collect payment from Chinese companies has become an extremely difficult problem owing to what experts described as the low level of China's entrepreneurial culture.

Currently, more than 71 percent of Taiwan's outbound investment has landed on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, which Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) called on Thursday an "overconcentration" phenomenon.

"We should constantly remind our businessmen of the risk of putting all their eggs in one basket," Su said, while meeting with a party of young US Democratic Party rising stars who are in Taipei for a visit.

"We have not forbidden our entrepreneurs from venturing into the Chinese market. We just encourage them to adopt a global perspective and integrate their China forays into their global development plans," Su said.

He also warned that Chinese authorities have often used their economic clout to force Taiwanese businesspeople operating in China to support their political appeals that are detrimental or hostile to Taiwan.

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